As season 5 of Downton Abbey has come to close, we thought it was high time we updated our list of film locations for the popular British television show. Here are 10 notable spots from the first five seasons:
Actually located in Newbury (west of London), the home that stands in for Downton Abbey is still occupied by the Carnavaron family but is open for tours and events. If the architectural style rings a bell, it’s because it’s designed by the same architect as the British Houses of Parliament.
The final episode of Downton Abbey Season 3 takes place partially in Scotland, at the home of the fictional Lord and Lady Flincher, parents to Lady Rose. Inveraray Castle is located on the banks of Loch Fyne, 60 miles from Glasgow. Inverary Castle has been located here since the 1400s, but this current incarnation was inspired by a sketch by Vanburgh, the architect of Blenheim Palace and built in the mid 1700s.
Daisy in the Kitchen of Downton, filmed at Ealing Studios. Photo: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE
Although the upstairs and downstairs look seamlessly connected in the show, the servants hall and kitchen were built in Ealing Studios, 60 miles away from Highclere Castle. According to Jessica Fellowes, author of the book The World of Downton Abbey, “Thomas might be filmed leaving the kitchen with a plate of food for upstairs and would then appear two weeks later in the dining room!” creating some culinary challenges on the show.
Read more about how the food is prepared and shot in Downton Abbey.
Anna and Bates at the Ripon Register Office
Everything seems to happen in Ripon, a market and cathedral town near Downton. Unlike Downton, it’s a real town in North Yorkshire in the Borough of Harrogate, the fourth smallest town in England and over 1,300 years old. In the show, it’s where Lady Sybil gets knocked in the head during a socialist protest, where Matthew goes to work briefly as a lawyer, where Anna and Bates get married, where Tom and Sybil’s daughter gets christened, where Lady Rose goes to help out the Russian refugees and meets Atticus Aldrige, her future husband.
The Lotus Jazz Club is where flapper Lady Rose meets jazz singer Jack Rose, leading to a dalliance disapproved of by the Granthams and Lady Rosamund. In real life, the scene was filmed at the Savile Club, a members only club that remains male only. However, members were encouraged to bring wives and female acquaintances so the presence of Lady Rose, Lady Mary and Lady Rosamund could have happened during this time period.
Remember Alfred the footman? He goes to The Ritz to take the test to train as a chef under Escoffier, and is at first rejected. He later gets in after someone drops out. In Season 5, art historian Simon Bricker, making the moves on Cora, takes her to dinner at The Ritz.
Despite the popularity of Downtown Abbey, the show needed to find a substitute for the scene in Buckingham Palace where Rose gets introduced in her coming out as a debutante. Lancaster House in London, which is close to St. James Palace, and once part of the palace complex, served as the filming location. It was once known as Stafford House, visited by Queen Victoria (who is quoted to have been duly impressed), Harriet Beecher Stowe, Garibaldi, and Chopin. It was once the location for the London Museum and has been used for filming of The King’s Speech, The Young Victoria, The Importance of Being Earnest, and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, in addition to Downton Abbey.
Grantham House is the London home of the Crawley family in London. The family stayed here during Rose’s debutante ball and her wedding to Atticus. In the show, the exterior of Grantham House is filmed at Bridgewater House in London’s Westminster, now owned by Greek shipowner Yiannis Latsis. The interiors are filmed at Basildon Park in Berkshire.
Anna at Picadilly Circus, London
Dragging through two seasons, Picadilly is where Mr. Green, valet to Tony Gillingham is hit and killed in a road accident. Anna goes to visit this exact spot in front of Shaftsbury Memorial Fountain in Season 5, where she arouses suspicion from investigators looking into Green’s death.
In Season 5 Lady Mary and Tony Gillingham head to Liverpool for their tryst, where they stay at the Grand Hotel. It is in front of the hotel that Lady Grantham’s butler Spratt spots the couple.
The imposing and very real Alnwick Castle in Northumberland serves as the setting for Brancaster Castle, the estate rented by Lady and Lord Sinderby, parents of Aticus Aldridge, for the hunting party. It’s here that the illegitimate child of Lord Sinderby and the child’s mother show up through devious plotting by Thomas and Lady Mary in the Christmas finale of Season 5, and also where Lady Mary meets her likely suitor in the forthcoming season.
Two Temple Place — the former Astor House
We’re looking forward to the next season of Downton Abbey! See more amazing architectural spots in the worlds of Downton Abbey and Pride and Prejudice. Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.